Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Expect to see U.S. gas prices increase ahead of the long Labor Day holiday weekend, but higher prices at the pump might not last, analysts said.
"With Labor Day approaching, motorists could see a small swing towards higher gas prices, but any jump should not last past the holiday weekend," Jeanette Casselano, a spokeswoman for motor club AAA, said in a statement.
AAA lists a national average retail price for regular unleaded gasoline at $2.84 per gallon, a slight increase from Monday, but 2 cents less than one month ago.
Harvey hit the southern United States and its large concentration of pipelines and oil refineries. With lower oil prices, however, the peak from Harvey last year was $2.67 per gallon.
"Despite no hurricane activity this Labor Day weekend, gas prices will be at their highest point for the holiday since 2014," AAA's weekly retail gasoline price report read.
The West Coast is the most expensive market in the country, with all but Arizona reporting a national average price above the $3 per gallon mark. Hawaii was able to weather Hurricane Lane unscathed, with its state average price of $3.76 per gallon unchanged from last month.
For the region, gasoline inventories declined from the week ending Aug. 10, but are still higher than they were last year and that will help keep the price at the pump in check during the holiday.
The Great Lakes region, meanwhile, is the most volatile in the country, with Ohio setting the bar at a 10 cent increase in the price for gas. At $2.81 per gallon, however, Ohio's state average is about 10 cents per gallon less than Michigan, which has the highest state average in the region.
The spike comes even as the region posts a gasoline inventory level that's close to its highest point for the year.
Consumer gasoline prices typically decline after the Labor Day holiday. After Sept. 15, refiners start making a winter blend of gasoline, which is less expensive to make because there are fewer processing steps necessary compared to the summer blend.
"When refineries finally enter overdue maintenance schedules, expectations are for several weeks of draws in fuel stockpiles that could be supportive of the relatively higher but stagnant prices seen during the past summer," Patrick DeHaan, the lead petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said in a separate statement.